Archives for Honda PR

Hinchcliffe and Honda Win in New Orleans

* Single-stop pit strategy pays big dividends as James Hinchcliffe claims first win of 2015
* James Jakes completes a 1-3 finish for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
* Simona de Silvestro runs fourth for Honda and Andretti Autosport

A gamble on pit strategy – making just a single pit stop for fuel and dry weather tires – rewarded Honda driver James Hinchcliffe with victory Sunday in the Indy Grand Prix of New Orleans, his first Verizon IndyCar Series win of 2015 and fourth career victory.

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Hinchcliffe’s Schmidt Peterson Motorsports teammate, James Jakes, recovered from an early-race spin to finish third while Simona de Silvestro made it three Hondas in the top four positions at the end of a rain-and-crash shortened inaugural Indy car event at NOLA Motorsports Park.

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Starting 16th on a damp, but drying, race track following heavy morning showers, Hinchcliffe pitted on Lap 13 for fuel and a change to the soft compound “Red” dry-weather tires. It would be his only stop of the 47-lap contest. Hinchcliffe cycled to the front of the field as others made additional stops, then maintained his advantage through a series of restarts in a caution-filled event that featured a total of six yellow flags for 26 laps.

After spinning on Lap 19, Jakes also went off-sequence and recovered to finish third, his first podium result since returning to Indy car competition this season, while de Silvestro gained more than a half-dozen positions on rain tires, then also went off-sequence to finish fourth.

The Verizon IndyCar Series now heads west to California for the third round of the 16-race 2015 season, the Grand Prix of Long Beach, starting 4 p.m. EDT Sunday, April 19, with live television coverage on the NBC Sports Network.

Video recaps from this weekend’s Indy car race weekend in New Orleans, produced by the Carolinas Production Group, are being posted on the “Honda Racing/HPD” YouTube channel. The video packages can be found in the 2015 HPD Trackside Video Playlist at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV

James Hinchcliffe (#5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda) started 16th, finished 1st, 1st victory of 2015 and 4th career Indy car victory: “We made the [one pit stop] strategy call because of the weather [rain was approaching the circuit], but it turned out that it was all the cautions that made it work for us. On one hand, I do feel bad for all of the fans, because we didn’t have more green-flag laps. But on the other hand, the strategy call was awesome and our car was unbelievable on the ‘Reds’ [softer, dry-weather tires]. We pulled away from a couple of Penskes on those restarts. If we had gone green, I think we still would’ve held them off to the end, as long as we had fuel. It’s great to get our first win of ’15 for Honda, and our first win for [team owners] Sam [Schmidt] and Ric [Peterson].”

Simona de Silvestro (#25 Andretti Autosport Honda) started 18th, finished 4th: “This was huge for us. We struggled earlier in the weekend, but conditions played into our hands. The car was fantastic on rain tires, and I passed a lot of people early in the race. The team made a great call on the pit stop for [dry-weather] tires, and on the second stop as well. That gained us a few more positions and then I finally got Tony [Kanaan, for fourth place]. It is a great day, for us and for Honda, and a great result for the Andretti Autosport team.”

Art St. Cyr (President, Honda Performance Development) on today’s victory in New Orleans: “This was a great result for James [Hinchcliffe], Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and everyone at Honda Performance Development. Today’s win was the result of some great strategy by the SPM team, awesome driving from James Hinchcliffe, and some great mileage from the Honda Twin-Turbo Indy V6 engine. We know there is still a lot of work ahead of us as we head into three very important race weekends for Honda – Long Beach, Barber and Indianapolis – but this will give everyone at HPD the momentum we need going into the next rounds of the championship.”

Thunderstorm Wipes Out Indy Car Qualifying in New Orleans

* Lightning brings a halt to qualifying mid-session
* Starting field to be set by entrant points
* Ryan Hunter-Reay to start 7th for Honda, Jack Hawksworth 8th

Honda drivers and teams made an encouraging start in wet-weather qualifying Saturday at NOLA Motorsports Park in preparation for Sunday’s inaugural Indy Grand Prix of New Orleans, but race officials were forced to red flag the session as lightning moved into the area. Continued lightning and thundershowers eventually forced race officials to cancel qualifying, and the field for Sunday’s Verizon IndyCar Series race was set by entrant points.

2015 IndyCar NOLA Louisiana

Had qualifying continued, five Honda drivers – Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti, Carlos Munoz, James Jakes and James Hinchcliffe – would have advanced to the second round. With the grid set by entrant points, Hunter-Reay will start seventh, followed by Jack Hawksworth, eighth, and Marco Andretti, 10th.

The second round round of the 16-race 2015 season starts at 3 p.m. EDT Sunday, with live television coverage on the NBC Sports Network.

Hunter-Reay Heads Damp Friday Practice for Honda at New Orleans

* Posts second-quickest time in abbreviated afternoon session
* Five Honda drivers in top-10 afternoon results
* James Hinchcliffe leads Honda effort in morning practice

On a damp but drying track, in a practice session delayed and shortened to 30 minutes after afternoon showers soaked the NOLA Motorsports Park road course, Ryan Hunter-Reay led the way for Honda in preparation for Sunday’s Indy Grand Prix of New Orleans, setting the second-fastest time in his #28 Andretti Autosport DHL Honda.

Making her second appearance for Andretti Autosport, Simona de Silvestro posted the fifth-fastest time in the afternoon practice, with teammate Carlos Munoz seventh in his Andretti Autosport Honda. Takuma Sato and Graham Rahal rounded out the top 10 for Honda, respectively. Teams and drivers spent the morning practice learning the 2.74-mile NOLA road course, making its first appearance on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule in 2015. James Hinchcliffe led the way for Honda in that practice with the eighth-quickest time.

Activities continue Saturday with a final practice session, followed by “Fast Six” knockout qualifying that will set the 24-car field for Sunday’s race. The second round round of the 16-race 2015 season starts at 3 p.m. Sunday, with live television coverage on the NBC Sports Network.

Ryan Hunter-Reay (#28 Andretti Autosport DHL Honda) 2nd fastest in afternoon practice: “It was an incomplete day for us with the DHL Honda. In the first session we never really got going in our changes. We were trying some big experiments with some of the aero package that didn’t end up panning out for us, so we ended up going fastest in our first outing – which was unfortunate. But we were able to get a little track time at the end of the day and I think we have a potential direction for tomorrow.”

Honda IndyCar Message Points – Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana

Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana, NOLA Motorsports Park
April 12, 2015
3 p.m. EDT
NBC Sports Network
IndyCar Radio Network Broadcast and Live Stream
INDYCAR DEBUT IN NEW ORLEANS

* The 2015 Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana will mark the debut of Verizon IndyCar Series racing in the New Orleans area, and the state of Louisiana.

* This weekend’s race at NOLA Motorsports Park continues the successful expansion of Indy car racing to the southeastern United States in recent years, including the successful Honda Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham, and the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Florida, a fixture on the IndyCar Series schedule since 2005.
AERO KITS

* The 2015 IndyCar Series sees the introduction of manufacturer-developed Aero Kits to Indy car racing as another element to competition between Honda and Chevrolet. Each manufacturer has developed visually distinctive, performance-enhancing aerodynamic packages for use by its respective teams.

* Manufacturers were able to develop their own front/rear wing endplates, sidepods, engine covers, rear-wheel guards, and front/rear wing flaps, as long as they fit inside designated “volume boxes” as specified by INDYCAR.

* Following the season opening March 29 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Honda Performance Development has initiated updates to both the front-wing end plate and rear wheel guards to improve the impact resistance of these components. These updates consist of bonded-in-place panels which further strengthen specific areas of the front-wing end plates and rear wheel guards.

* Design and initial production of these panels has been completed in the short,12-day period — which included the Easter holiday weekend — between the St. Petersburg and New Orleans events.

* Aero kits allow multiple combinations of aerodynamic elements to suit the strategy and preferences of each team. This brings a new challenge to both Honda and individual team race engineers, who may mix and match these parts in an effort to find the right combination of downforce for optimum performance during both qualifications and the race at each Verizon IndyCar Series circuit.

* In accordance with INDYCAR regulations for 2015, Honda designed one aero kit for road/street courses/short ovals, and a second superspeedway aero kit, which will debut later this season, for use on oval speedways of 1.5 miles and longer. Cost of engine manufacturer aero kits is capped at $75,000 per entry.

* All Honda-powered teams in the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series will also be utilizing the Honda aero kit package.

MANUFACTURER COMPETITION

* The 2015 season marks the fourth season of manufacturer competition in the Verizon IndyCar Series after six years of Honda serving as single engine supplier. Chevrolet and Honda will again battle for supremacy throughout the 16-race season and at the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 in May.

* Drivers and teams using Honda engines have won 211 Indy car races and 10 Indianapolis 500s, both during years of multi-manufacturer competition (2004-05, 2012); and during Honda’s tenure single engine supplier to the series (2006-11). Honda’s most recent “500” winner is Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport, who emerged victorious in the 2014 running of the Memorial Day classic, and will defend his championship next month.
HONDA RACING/HPD VIDEOS

* Video News Releases from this weekend’s Verizon IndyCar Series race in New Orleans are being posted on a specially created “Honda Racing/HPD Trackside” YouTube channel produced by the Carolinas Production Group.

* Headed by longtime motorsports broadcaster Rick Benjamin, CPG is providing video highlights packages following Honda Racing/HPD events during 2015. The video packages can be found in the 2015 HPD Trackside Video Playlist at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.

Hunter-Reay Finishes Seventh for Honda at St. Petersburg

* Fuel gamble by Hawksworth comes up short, prevents podium finish
* Top-10 results for Ryan Hunter-Reay, Hawksworth and Marco Andretti
* First Verizon IndyCar Series race of 2015

Jack Hawksworth’s chances for a podium finish in his first start for A.J. Foyt Racing came up short Sunday afternoon at the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Employing an alternate pit strategy, Hawksworth led five laps of today’s Verizon IndyCar Series season opener and remained a contender for a podium result, until he required a final pit stop on Lap 95, dropping him from third to an eighth-place finish.

Defending Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay led the Honda field at the checkers, finishing seventh, with Hawksworth eighth and Marco Andretti rounding out the top 10, as Andretti come through the field following multiple contact incidents.

Several Honda-powered drivers had strong runs today, but multiple incidents and contact also hampered the runs of Takuma Sato and Graham Rahal. Starting fifth, Sato sustained damage while battling Sebastien Bourdais for position on Lap 37, and additional damage due to contact later in the race.

Rahal ran as high as fifth in today’s 110-lap event, but a “drive-through” [pit lane] penalty for avoidable contact ruined his chances for a strong result, and the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver finished 11th.

Video News Releases from this weekend’s Indy car season opener and companion Pirelli World Challenge GT double-header – including Saturday’s victory by Ryan Eversley in his RealTime Racing Acura TLX GT – are being posted on the “Honda Racing/HPD Trackside” YouTube channel produced by the Carolinas Production Group. The video packages can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrjKYsWbjOlIQRlm42ehUnw.

The 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series now heads to New Orleans Motorsports Park for the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana, to be televised live on the NBC Sports Network on Sunday, April 12.

Ryan Hunter-Reay (#28 Andretti Autosport Honda) started 8th, finished 7th: “I think that was the hardest seventh-place finish I’ve seen. That’s how it is sometimes, when you have bad days you have to bring home solid top 10 [results]. We fell back to like 18th or 19th after the issue at the start with Bourdais [forcing Hunter-Reay to run wide at the first corner]. We rebounded nicely, but to be honest I think that’s about the car we had today — a sixth- or seventh-place car at best. We’ll take the top 10 and move ahead for New Orleans.”

Art St. Cyr (President, Honda Performance Development) on today’s race in St. Petersburg: “This was a disappointing result, which did not reflect the performance of the Honda engine and chassis package. We had drivers and teams with the speed to score good results today, including Ryan Hunter-Reay, Takuma Sato, Jack Hawksworth, Graham Rahal and Marco Andretti. But the race was a crash- andmistake-filled affair, which seemed to affect many of our top competitors. Now we just have to put our heads down, regroup and learn so that we are better prepared for our next race, the new Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana at New Orleans Motorsports Park.”

Honda IndyCar Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Qualifying Report

Honda Racing Report

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg

Circuit:                        Bayfront Park (1.8-mile temporary street circuit) St. Petersburg, Fla.

2013 Winner:  Will Power(Team Penske) 93.572 mph average

Weather:         Sunny, mild, 67 degrees F

Top-12 Qualifying Results:

Ps. Driver     Team Manufacturer Best Time Notes
  1. Will Power Team Penske Chevrolet 1:00.6931 106.767 mph [new record]
  2. Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Chevrolet 1:00.7252 +0.0321 seconds
  3. Helio Castroneves Team Penske Chevrolet 1:00.8356 Fast six shootout
  4. Juan Pablo Montoya Team Penske Chevrolet 1:00.8532 Fast six shootout
  5. Takuma Sato A.J. Foyt Racing    Honda 1:01.1496 Fast six shootout
  6. Sebastien Bourdais KV Racing Technology Chevrolet 1:01.1545 Fast six shootout
  7. Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 1:01.1182 2nd round qualifying
  8. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Honda 1:01.1670 2nd round qualifying
  9. Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 1:01.2285 2nd round qualifying
10. Josef Newgarden Carpenter Fisher Hartman Chevrolet 1:01.2478 2nd round qualifying
11. Simona de Silvestro Andretti Autosport Honda 1:01.3657 2nd round qualifying
12. Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Honda 1:01.4765 2nd round qualifying

Other Honda-powered Results

14. Carlos Munoz Andretti Autosport Honda 1:01.4890 1st round, Group 2
15. Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda 1:01.5742 1st round, Group 1
16. James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda 1:01.5780 1st round, Group 2
20. James Jakes Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda 1:01.8323 1st round, Group 2
21. Jack Hawksworth A.J. Foyt Racing    Honda 1:02.0095 1st round, Group 1
22. Gabby Chaves-R Bryan Herta Autosport Honda 1:01.9705 1st round, Group 2
23. Francesco Dracone-R Dale Coyne Racing Honda 1:04.2654 1st round, Group 1
24. Carlos Huertas Dale Coyne Racing Honda 1:01.9716 1st round, Group 2

 

Sato to start fifth for Honda at St. Petersburg

  • Leads Honda qualifying at St. Petersburg for second consecutive year
  • Andretti Autosport places three drivers in top 12
  • First Indy car race of 2015 starts Sunday at 3 p.m. EDT

Takuma Sato led the Honda contingent Saturday in qualifying for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, and will start Sunday’s season-opening Verizon IndyCar Series race from fifth in the 24-car field.  It is the second consecutive year Sato has paced the Honda qualifying effort at St. Petersburg, as the A.J. Foyt Racing driver started from the pole in the 2014 event.

Reaching the second of three rounds of Indy car “knockout” qualifying, Ryan Hunter-Reay will start tomorrow’s 110-lap race from eighth, with Andretti Autosport teammates Simona de Silvestro and Marco Andretti qualifying 11th and 12th, respectively.

The opening round of the 16-race 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series starts Sunday at 3 p.m. EDT, with live television coverage on ABC.

Takuma Sato (#14 A.J. Foyt Racing Honda) qualified 5th for the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg:  “We did everything we could today.  Obviously, we’re not on the front row, but we’ve made significant gains throughout the weekend and I’m happy with our qualifying performance.  Team Penske is very strong here, and has been in recent years, but thanks to all of the hard work from Honda, HPD and the Foyt team, we are in very good shape for tomorrow’s race.”

Hawksworth Leads Rain-Shortened Friday in St. Petersburg

* Opening day for 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season
* Hawksworth, Hinchcliffe pace the Honda field
* First race for Honda HI15RTT V6 engine and Honda aero kits

The Verizon IndyCar Series opened its 2015 season Friday on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, running a single 90-minute practice prior to afternoon showers canceling the second scheduled session. Two familiar Honda drivers, both with new teams for 2015, led the way for the manufacturer today with Jack Hawksworth ending the day sixth fastest for A.J. Foyt Racing, and James Hinchcliffe just behind, seventh overall, in his debut with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

Today’s activities marked the official competition debut of the twin-turbocharged Honda HI15RTT V6 Indy engine, and manufacturer-specific bodywork, known as aero kits, new to Indy car for 2015.

Activities continue Saturday with a final practice session, followed by “Fast Six” knockout qualifying that will set the 24-car field for Sunday’s 110-lap race. The opening round of the 16-race 2015 season starts at 3 p.m. Sunday, with live television coverage on ABC.

Allen Miller (Race Team Leader, Honda Performance Development) on today’s opening practice: “This is a very different race car from last season, and we still have much to learn, along with our teams. It’s a shame we could not get in more running time this afternoon, both for the fans and ourselves, as our knowledge grows with every lap we complete. But the weather forecast for the rest of the weekend is excellent, and we should have an exciting qualifying session tomorrow and race on Sunday.”

Transcript: Honda Media Availability with Michael Andretti and Justin Wilson

March 27, 2015

An interview with:

MICHAEL ANDRETTI
JUSTIN WILSON

T.E. McHALE: Good morning, everybody. Great to see all of you back with us after a long off season. Welcome to the first of our series of trackside media briefings in 2015. Thanks for making the time to be here.
During this very long off season, one of the dominant stories was the plans of the gentleman to my right. We’re pleased to have something to say about that today. I’m going to introduce Michael Andretti to tell us what’s going to happen with Justin at this point in 2015.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Thanks for having us here. I’m really excited about today. It’s something that we’ve been working on for, believe it or not, four or five years. We’ve been trying to get Justin in one of our cars. We’ve finally been able to do it.

At the moment we are able to get him in the car for a couple of races. The goal is to get him in for a lot more. But right now we can announce that he’s going to be doing the Indy Grand Prix and the Indy 500 with us. Excited about that. I think it’s going to be a great program.

I’m really thankful to Honda for making this happen. Honda has been such an awesome partner for us. Couldn’t have happened without them. So thank you.

Like I said, we got a lot of irons in the fire to try to get him in the car a lot more before the end of the year, but right now we can announce two.

I’ll turn it over to Justin. But again, really excited about it.

JUSTIN WILSON: Thank you.

I got to thank Michael for all of his efforts over the off season. He and his team have worked so hard to try to put something together. I’m really excited about joining him for these two races right now.
Like Michael was saying, hopefully it can grow and we can have a good race, progress, try and be there more full time in the future.
But for right now, I’m just really excited to jump in, do those two, and hopefully have a good Indy and month of May actually with the two races.

It’s something that I’ve really looked forward to. It’s a great opportunity. So got to thank Michael and his team, everybody at Andretti Autosport, as well as everybody at Honda. They’ve been great supporters, pushed everyone to try to make something happen. I’m really honored.

I’ve also got to thank all the fans and support I’ve had out there. There’s been a lot of people making a lot of noise in the background on social media. It’s been pretty humbling to see that. So that’s great. Thank you.

T.E. McHALE: Michael, thanks for the kind words about Honda. Thanks to both of you.
You talked about the effort to bring Justin into the camp for a period of years. Aside from Honda, was there any other specific thing you can point to that made it easier to do this this year or more possible this year than in past years?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: No. I think Honda was the biggest factor, for sure. We’re still looking for a primary sponsor, and hopefully that sponsor will want to run Justin in a lot more races.
Getting Honda’s support to get these first two, to get it rolling, we couldn’t have done it without that.

T.E. McHALE: Justin, I know you’ve had not a lot of an opportunity to look at the new bodywork and have not yet tested it. Talk about how you feel about your approach to that. Hopefully you’re looking forward to getting into the car.

JUSTIN WILSON: Yeah, it’s great to see the body kits, what it’s added to the car, the more dramatic look to the car. The front wing on the Honda, all those little elements, it looks fantastic. I can’t wait to try it. I want to get behind the wheel.

It’s kind of strange being here at St. Pete and not thinking about drivers meetings and car setup and things like that. I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel.

But the body kit I think is going to add another element. Makes it interesting to see who is going to come out on top.
We’ve seen the testing. We’ll see how that translates to race weekend when everyone’s actually going for it.

T.E. McHALE: Questions, please.

Q. Justin, you won a couple of races with Dale Coyne. Now you’re with the defending Indianapolis 500 winning team owner. Talk about how big an opportunity you may have.

JUSTIN WILSON: It’s a great opportunity. That was the one thing, when I look back, how do I want to plan my future and what’s the next career move.

Michael has put together such a great outfit, a great team. They’re always so competitive at the 500. That’s the one race that every driver wants to win. That’s why when you look at it, you think, Okay, right now it’s just two races, but it’s two of the best races. The Indy 500 is the best race. It’s the one race in your career, if you win that, it changes everything.

I just figured this was giving myself the best shot at winning. There’s no guarantees. There’s still 33 cars that are going to be out there and any one of them can win. Knowing you’re driving an Andretti Autosport car at one of those races definitely gives you a slight edge. I’m looking forward to feeling that out and getting the experience.
But, yeah, I got to thank Dale Coyne Racing. I’m still good friends with Dale. We haven’t ended things on a down note. I respect Dale for what he’s done. He’s helped me so much in my career. He’s just a great guy. Winning for him has meant a lot, but it was time for him and myself to look at something different.

Q. Michael, to add another driver like this…

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Obviously, we have a great team. We put a big effort in for the race. You’ve got to have good drivers.
Having Justin come in one of our cars is just a great opportunity for us. I have all the time in the world for Justin, his ability, and also him as a person.

The other thing you have to look at when you have multiple cars is how is his personality going to fit with everybody else on the team. Justin is perfect. Everybody loves Justin. We just know that he’s going to really fit right in and work together right away with our whole group that we’ve got together. I think he’s going to bring a lot to the party in the month of May.

Q. You’ve talked about wanting to do this all off season. When did the deal finally come together?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I don’t know, just recently we finally got the actual signing done. I think it was starting to feel pretty good about, what, two or three weeks ago when we were finally feeling like this is going to actually happen.

Q. Simona, is she still in the mix for possible future races?
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: The goal is to run five cars for sure at Indianapolis. Just like Justin, we are pushing hard on that front as well, to try to get her in a car for more than just this race.
We’re hoping we can put something together. We don’t have anything to announce yet. Hopefully soon we’ll have something. But we’re really excited to have her on the team. She just had her first test a couple days ago.

I got to say, every single person that was at the test was really impressed with what she did, not only her pace on the track, but what she was able to offer outside of the car. I know we’re all really pumped this weekend for her.

Q. Justin, how frustrated have you been to not have something put together, the Rolex, Sebring where you didn’t get an opportunity to get in the car competitively, just your level of frustration during the off season?

JUSTIN WILSON: Every week it would change. It’s been a rollercoaster of an off season where you think things are coming together, then it would slip away, then it would come back again, then it would slip away. It seemed like every four, five days it would change.

You know, I saw this as a test of how determined am I to be racing. How determined am I to be racing in IndyCar. Just had to keep pushing on, keep being determined to be here, trying to make something happen.

Yeah, it’s frustrating. But what else can you do? You can either give up and quit and leave, or you can keep pushing, try and fight for a place to be here on the grid.

Q. Michael, how important is it to run both the Indy races now? Does it help with the marketing of the team?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: We’re hoping it does. We haven’t seen it yet. But I think the biggest thing is more for Justin to get used to the team so he’ll get a race under his belt before the big one. I think that’s going to be really important to get him fitting into the team. That’s why we felt like it made a lot of sense to do those two races, because they’re back to back, right there in Indianapolis.

I got to say, going back to the frustration question, he talks about the rollercoaster. It was a rollercoaster. We had two or three deals that we thought were there. They fell apart at the last minute. It was an emotional ride for me as it was for him.

Q. A full season deal?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: One or two full seasons that fell apart. Then another one that I thought was going to have four or five races more. Fell apart, so…

Q. Michael, testing the new aerodynamic package, how much more do your engineers have to do to adapt to that?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Tremendous amount of work, I can tell you that. It’s really been unbelievable what the teams have been having to go through the last few weeks, not only just getting the cars on track and all that, but to understand it.
I think we’re still far away from understanding the whole package because there is so much adjustability to this new package.
I don’t think anybody’s going to really have the right combination in the first race. I think it’s going to take a little while to understand it.
It sort of goes back to the old days when you had the new car every year, you almost forget what you did last year, know you have a new product. A new product normally needs something different in setup than the old. That’s where we’re at right now.

Q. What is the impact of different driving styles with all those different components with the new aerodynamics?
MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I don’t think so much so. If we get the right package, it’s going to work for every driver.
One thing we’ve been working on, as we’ve been going now, we have all the drivers pretty much running the same setup everywhere now. We’re a lot closer on that than where we used to be.
The style thing we’re throwing out the side and saying, Drivers, the car is fast, you need to make your car go just as fast, learn how to do it. I think that’s what we have happening with our drivers.
I don’t think we’re going to have any impact on that from the aero kit.

Q. Justin, now that you have a final confirmed date of racing, at least for the start of the season, how does that help you prepare for the month of May?

JUSTIN WILSON: It’s nice to know you have something to focus on, something to work towards, and you’ve got a date for that.

This whole off season I’ve been training as hard as ever at the gym, on the cardio. I know driving these cars with this extra downforce is going to be more physical.

I didn’t know if I was going to be in or not going to be in. But you’ve got to be ready for whatever opportunity comes along.
Yeah, I mean, it doesn’t change my preparation, but it’s just nice knowing you have something there to focus on.

Q. Michael, did the team find something between the Barber open test and the earlier test this week at Sebring that has helped close the gap to Chevrolet?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I think we’re going to find there’s going to be some kits that are quicker at some tracks than others. I wouldn’t say that we found something there. I think it was more the racetrack itself. I’m hoping that that’s going to transfer over to this track.
But then it seems like you got to a track like Barber where there’s a lot of hills and things like that, then you have different things you have to react to that seems like the other side is not reacting to.
I think it may come down to tracks, one is going to have an advantage over the other.

Q. Michael, is there a fear that if Chevrolet has an advantage or has figured out something extra, it might mitigate anything that Honda might have as an engine?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Well, what it does, though, is it does confuse things a little bit. You come down to now: Is the engine okay? Do you have more drag? Does the other side have less drag? Now you have to figure out, if you have made improvements in the engine, but it’s not showing on the track, is it because of more drag, whatever. Same with looking at our competition. It makes it a lot harder to see if the problem is the motor or the kit.

So it definitely makes the job of the engineers a lot harder. They’ve got to do a lot more investigating and things to try to see, Okay, are we hurting here in the engine or with the kit?

JUSTIN WILSON: It’s just best to be fastest everywhere.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: Makes it easier if it’s fast everywhere. That’s the goal.

Q. Is this more fun now?

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: With the kit?

Q. Yes.

MICHAEL ANDRETTI: I think engineers are having a blast with it, yeah. It’s a great engineering exercise, for sure.

Me as an owner, I don’t know if it is. When you got to write the checks, it’s not as much fun (laughter).

JUSTIN WILSON: It’s another element you’ve got to work out. Again, as an engineer, driver, one of those combinations, you’ve got to work it out, see the answers that other teams have come up with. From a driver’s point of view, it’s interesting.

T.E. McHALE: We will wrap it up. We made some pretty good news today and we’re happy you all joined us to take part.
Gentlemen, thank you for being with us.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

2015 Honda North American Motorsports Overview

  • The Honda Racing Ladder detailed
  • Indy car and other pinnacle series programs
  • Grassroots Motorsports offerings

Introduction

Earlier this year, Honda Motor Co., Ltd announced Honda’s worldwide motorsports overview for 2015. With the company racing in more than 100 motorcycle and automobile categories around the world, Honda is proud of its ability to meet the needs of its customers and expand the joys of racing.

Today, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (AHM) and its subsidiary, Honda Performance Development, Inc. (HPD), announce the North American motorsports overview for 2015.

Motorsports Strategy:  “The Honda Racing Ladder”

Through the Honda Racing Line, Honda makes on-track competition accessible through affordable products and a racer support program in open-wheel, short-track, and touring-series racing. Honda has developed a system which powers a racer’s passions at nearly any level of the sport.

Honda offers a strong ladder platform, extending over customer racing pursuits in sports car, Formula racing, karting and production cars. In 2015, Honda will not only continue building upon this ladder, it will underscore the youthful and innovative spirit of our customers and their exciting stories as they progress up the ladder.

Honda Racing Line

Launched in 2009, HPD’s Honda Racing Line is a program targeted at licensed grassroots motorsports participants competing in sanctioned amateur and entry-level professional racing in the USA and Canada.

The Honda Racing Line provides a wide range of goods and services highlighting Honda’s exciting and fun automotive products. This includes, but is not limited to, racers participating in:

LADDER
Open Wheel Short Track Touring (Closed Wheel)
SKUSA/WKA Karting QMA & USAC 1/4 Midget Spec Racer Atom & SCCA Pro Solo and Solo II
Formula F Honda Racing/HPD Midget SCCA Club Racing & NASA Honda Challenge
Formula Atlantic / Lites National Midget Pro Grand Touring and Touring Car
IndyCar Prototype Sports Car

Whether our customers love to race their own Hondas in sanctioned motorsports events, or cheer their favorite cars and drivers to victory, American Honda’s motorsports initiatives seek to bring the excitement of Honda Racing closer to consumers.

At Honda, racing offers much more than an opportunity to highlight the quality of our products or our on-track accomplishments. We hope that in 2015, the sport of racing will be more fun for our customers because of Honda products.

Honda Engines / Honda Power Equipment

One of this country’s most popular entry-level racing categories, quarter midgets, receives support from HPD and Honda Power Equipment, which provides Honda GX engines, parts and product support to quarter-midget racers competing in events sanctioned by organizations such as the United States Auto Club and the Quarter Midgets of America.

The HPD Honda GXH50 Kid Kart engine is designed to improve quality, reliability and balanced performance at a low cost to the competitor. In 2015, through the Honda Racing Line, karters and other racers can arrange direct, door-to-door delivery of parts, and complete engines. HPD can even provide a suggested rules package to start a series

Honda Motorcycle

Today, many young racers gain their first racing experiences in karting. Recognizing this, HPD turned to Honda Motorcycle’s CR™125 engine. Honda CR125 engine parts and rebuild kits became available to both competitors and engine shops in 2011. In 2012, the program expanded to include the four-stroke CRF™250 engine.

The Honda CR125 engine is featured in the popular Spec Honda and Stock Moto classes by a variety of karting sanctioning bodies. In 2015, the Honda Racing Line continues to offer racers a new source for CR125 parts, engine-rebuild kits and technical support. As in club racing, HPD offers contingency award programs to kart racers competing in numerous organizations, including the WKA and SKUSA.

In addition to the CR125 engine kit, Honda’s more powerful CRF250 engine comes completely assembled and ready to install in a kart chassis.

The CBR600 in-line four-cylinder motorcycle engine will be utilized in SCCA’s F600 class, which is another popular low cost option to get started in open wheel racing.

Honda Auto

IndyCar Series Racing

In 2015, HPD will campaign the twin-turbocharged HI15TT Indy V6 engine with elite Verizon IndyCar Series drivers from teams including Andretti Autosport, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, A.J. Foyt Racing, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, Dale Coyne Racing, and Bryan Herta Autosport.

Honda and HPD continue to bring innovations to the racetrack. In 2015, this tradition of innovation continues as Honda introduces new aerodynamic bodywork to the existing DW 12 IndyCar chassis. This innovation will offer an exciting, refreshed look to the core DW 12 IndyCar chassis.

The “aero kit” includes nearly 200 individual pieces, and was developed utilizing the latest in Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) technologies concepts were validated using the Driver-In-Loop (DIL) Simulator, which minimized waste at the prototype stage and allowed aerodynamic direction to be determined prior to the creation of full-size components. Components went through wind-tunnel testing prior to six days of on-track testing at various North American circuits. In addition to improving performance, aerodynamic safety was a primary consideration in “aero kit” development.

TUDOR United SportsCar Championship
For 2015, HPD’s sports car racing program again takes on a worldwide scope, powering the Tequila Patron ESM team running in both the FIA World Endurance Championship and the endurance rounds of the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship as well as Michael Shank Racing campaigning in the full TUDOR series.

IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge & SCCA Pirelli World Challenge
Developed from the popular “showroom stock” racing series of the 1980s, today’s North American professional, production-based racing series – IMSA’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and the SCCA Pirelli World Challenge – feature large fields and fierce competition.

HPD provides parts, engineering development and technical support to teams competing in both series, from longtime Acura stalwart RealTime Racing and the multi-car efforts of Compass360 Racing to the smallest teams making their initial forays into professional racing.

Led by the most successful driver in Acura history, Peter Cunningham, RealTime has waved the “Caliper A” banner in professional competition since 1996, winning races and championships in every division of the series with an assortment of race-tuned Acura products including the TSX, RSX, NSX and Integra.

RealTime debuted the new Acura TLX GT in the World Challenge Grand Touring category in 2014, and has expanded to a two-car program in 2015. A number of teams run the Honda Civic Si in the Touring Car (TC) class, including Toronto-based Compass360, which returns with a multi-car program in 2015 as it helps defend Honda’s TC manufacturers’ and drivers’ championships.

Grassroots Motorsports Programs

Road Racing

HPD supports amateur racers taking part in SCCA and NASA club events across the country, as well as at licensed “track day” events, solo and autocross competition, rallying and in various “spec” categories such as Ariel Atom and Honda Challenge events.

In addition to providing parts and engineering support, HPD pays contingency awards to racers in a variety of categories, including professional and amateur Formula Atlantic, Formula F, the SCCA Pirelli World Challenge, IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, B-Spec Honda Fit competition, SCCA club racing and the NASA national championships.

B-Spec and Honda Civic Si

HPD joined with Mazda to introduce the new entry-level “B-Spec” category,  initially in SCCA club racing and now in the professional-level SCCA Pirelli World Challenge.  Other manufacturers have joined the category, with eligible models from Ford, Nissan, Mini, Chevy, Mazda and Kia. The B-Spec category continues to grow and prosper.

HPD has also developed a competition version of the Honda Civic Si for competition in a variety of series and categories, including SCCA and NASA club racing; the SCCA Pirelli World Challenge, IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, U.S. Touring Car Championship and Canadian Touring Car Championship.

HPD B-Spec Rally Fit

Designed for both stage rallying and Rallycross, the HPD B-Spec Rally Fit expands the concept of low-cost “B-Spec” competition from its road-racing origins. The prototype HPD B-Spec Rally Fit is campaigned by the Ohio-based Team Honda Research (THR) Rally team.

The Fit utilizes the same competition components introduced with the debut of B-Spec racing at the 2010 25 Hours of Thunderhill by Team Honda Research West, including the roll cage, suspension, camber adjusters, brake lines, brake pads and exhaust system. The transition from pavement to dirt is completed by raising the car on its suspension and installing off-road tires specific to the conditions.

Recognizing the potential of B-Spec, the Rally America National Championship began including the category as part of the organization’s Manufacturers’ National Championship program in 2013. The HPD B-Spec Rally Fit won this championship in its inaugural year and repeated in 2014.

The Manufacturers’ National Championship pits Rally America’s most commonly found manufacturer brands – such as Honda, Subaru, Ford, Mitsubishi, and Volkswagen – against one another. Every driver in the Overall, SP, 2WD and B-Spec Classes has a stake in the manufacturer’s outcome, as the top finishing car in each category wins that driver’s brand a total of 22 points after each round.

Grassroots Open-Wheel Racing Programs

Formula F

Recognizing the need for a modern engine in Formula F, the traditional “first step” for a young driver towards a career in professional racing, HPD introduced a race-ready version of the Honda Fit engine in time for the start of the 2010 season.

The engine has proven to be equal in power to the traditional “Kent” powerplant, and far superior in reliability and longevity.  It has helped revive Formula F club racing, and 2011 saw further growth for Formula F with the introduction of a pair of professional Formula F racing series – one based in the eastern United States and the other on the West Coast – that further boosted participation in the category.

A Honda-powered Formula F driven by Tim Kautz of Geneva, IL captured the 2012 national championship at the annual SCCA Runoffs at Elkhart Lake, WI, marking the first victory of a Honda-powered Formula F at the annual SCCA championship event. Kautz repeated his championship performance at the 50th Anniversary Runoffs in 2013. Jeremy Grenier used a Honda to win his recent Runoffs championship in 2014.

In 2012, the Honda Fit engine also was approved for competition in Canada’s two professional Formula F racing series, the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship and the Formula Tour 1600 series.

Formula Atlantic

Following a successful introduction of the Honda Fit-based Formula F engine in 2010, HPD continues to expand its grassroots motorsports offerings via the next rung on the performance ladder: the new 220-270 bhp K20 engine, adaptable to a wide variety of grassroots motorsports applications, from autocross and rallying to open-wheel Formula Atlantic competition.

Developed from the 2.0-liter engine used in several Honda passenger-car models, a prototype of the HPD K20 race engine was first displayed in December 2010, at the Performance Racing Industry Show (PRI) in Formula Atlantic guise.

Formula Atlantic was revived as a professional racing category for 2014, and an eight-race schedule has been announced for the Atlantic Championship Series in 2015.

In addition to Formula Atlantic, the K20 engine may be used in several other racing categories, including GT, ST and Sports Racing classes. Other potential competition uses for the engine include autocross, drifting, Rallycross and rallying.

Conclusion

Honda’s North American racing platform serves a wide variety of motorsports pursuits. The company’s strong commitment to engine technology, development and production — coupled with access to engine products through the Honda Racing Line — supports our customers’ passions to participate in and watch auto racing.

Whether a customer engages in karting or quarter midget racing or is seeking glory at the Indianapolis 500, Honda value and performance continue to provide a foundation for racing success. In 2015, this foundation will be strengthened through the direct efforts HPD and all the Honda divisions representing Team Honda.

Verizon IndyCar Series “Spring Training” Open Test Report

Honda Racing Report
Tuesday, March 17, 2014

Verizon IndyCar Series “Spring Training” Open Test
Circuit: Barber Motorsports Park (2.3.-mile road course), Birmingham, Ala.
Weather: Sunny, mild morning, warm afternoon, high 82 degrees F

Top-10 Tuesday Afternoon Test Results:
Ps. Driver Team Manufacturer Best Time Notes
1. Scott Dixon Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 1:07.3996 122.849 mph average
2. Will Power Team Penske Chevrolet 1:07.4984 +0.0988 seconds
3. Helio Castroneves Team Penske Chevrolet 1:07.5304
4. Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Chevrolet 1:07.5956
5. Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda 1:07.6203
6. Charlie Kimball Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 1:07.6225
7. Takuma Sato A.J. Foyt Racing Honda 1:07.6638
8. Juan Pablo Montoya Team Penske Chevrolet 1:07.7109
9. Josef Newgarden Carpenter Fisher Hartman Chevrolet 1:07.7345
10. James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda 1:07.7796

Other Honda-powered Results:
13. Carlos Huertas Dale Coyne Racing Honda 1:07.8868
14. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Honda 1:07.9023
15. Jack Hawksworth A.J. Foyt Racing Honda 1:07.9571
16. Carlos Munoz Andretti Autosport Honda 1:08.0116
17. James Jakes Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda 1:08.0252
20. Gabby Chaves-R Bryan Herta Autosport Honda 1:08.1868
21. Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Honda 1:08.3911
23. Francesco Dracon-R Dale Coyne Racing Honda 1:11.6317 8. Takuma Sato A.J. Foyt Racing Honda Dallara 1:22.7164

Rahal leads Honda Field in Indy Car “Spring Training”
• First test of 2015 featuring full Indy car field
• Honda Indy Car Aero Kit unveiled
• New Honda HI15RTT V6 engine debuts

The Verizon IndyCar Series wrapped up two days of “Spring Training”, the final open test prior to the start of the 2015 race season, Tuesday at Barber Motorsports Park outside of Birmingham, Alabama. Graham Rahal led the way for Honda, posting the fifth-quickest lap time in the final session on Tuesday afternoon, seventh quickest during the full two days.

Driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, veteran Takuma Sato was seventh quickest in the final practice, and 10th for the full test; while James Hinchcliffe made a successful debut with his new Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team, turning the 10th-quickest time in today’s final session. In all, 21 drivers posted times below the pole qualifying time from the 2014 Honda Grand Prix of Alabama.

The 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series opens in two weeks time, with the March 29 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Rahal at Barber 2

 

 

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